The English army was 7,000 strong, including Germans, Indians, at least one pregnant woman and Baroness Riedesel and her three children. The American army was around 3,000 and they held the fort.
The English advance guard surprised the Americans whose commander ordered his men not to shoot. One of them was unable to restrain himself however, prompting everyone else to open fire. A single Englishman fell and the rest withdrew.
The Englishman was in fact unharmed and had simply fallen down drunk. The Americans took him back to the fort and placed him in confinement with one of their own – who pretended to be a captured loyalist. The Englishman immediately revealed to him the English plan of attack and how many men there were.
The Americans spent the next day, July 4th, celebrating the Declaration of Independence. The English meanwhile, secretly hauled cannons up a hill overlooking the fort with which they could level it with ease. The Indians in the group, however, decided to light campfires that night and gave the game away. The Americans, realizing they were sitting ducks, waited until the following night, then sneaked off back to New York.
The American general left men behind with cannons to guard the bridge to the fort, and prevent the English from crossing. When the English finally arrived, the Americans were too drunk to do anything.
The fort was taken without firing a shot.
Malcolm Mc Neill’s first project out of art school was a seven-year collaboration with writer William S. Burroughs. His two books about the experience were published at the end of last year.
His most recent exhibition of paintings was in August 2013 in New York.